The effect of mulching with nut grass and cover cropping with pumpkins on maize yields in Kadungu, Kamuli district
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Maize as a stable cereal is very popular due to its food and income values to most of production systems of Uganda. However, the productivity of the crop is still below potential. Intercropping maize with cover crops such as pumpkins and mulching provides an opportunity to conserve moisture and improve maize productivity. However, the performance of maize in such a system has not been evaluated in Uganda. Mulching and use of pumpkins as cover crops in maize production was evaluated in a randomized complete block design. The objectives of the study were to determine the effect of pumpkin cover crop and mulching with nut grass on the water infiltration rate of the soil and on maize yields. Results of the experiment show higher infiltration rates in the maize fields with cover crop than mulched maize fields. However, weight per maize cob due to mulch was significantly higher (0.405 kg/m2) than cover crop (0.221 kg/m2) and control (0.154 kg/m2) at p<0.001. Therefore, intercropping maize with pumpkin as a cover crop probably improves yield of maize while mulching maize improves the yields more. It is recommended that there is a need to optimize the production of the two crops for better ecosystems services, food and income security for the resource poor farmers.